Settlers’ Guides for the Great Lakes Region

The settlers guides, or ’emigrant handbooks’ below are books and articles about places in the Great Lakes region. See the right column for more info about this website.

The Emigrant’s Hand-book, or, A Directory and Guide for Persons Emigrating to the United States of America …

NY: J. H. Colton 1848
Author Unknown Go to Book

(title continued) “… ; containing advice and directions to emigrants, but especially to those designing to settle in the Great Western Valley. And also, a concise description of the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa, and the western territories, and including a statement of the modes and expenses of travelling from New York to the interior, and an extensive list of routes in each state by steamboats, railroads, canals and stages. Accompanied with a correct travelling map of the United States”

For memoirs and biographies of life on the frontier in the Old Northwest, see:
Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History
Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Wisconsin History

A Geographical, Historical, Commercial, and Agricultural View of the United States of America …

London: Edwards & Knibb 1820
Go to Book

(title continued) “…forming a complete emigrant’s directory through every part of the republic, particularizing the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Illinois; and the territories of Alabama and Missouri…east and west Florida, Michigan, and North-western. …likewise, an account of the British possessions in Upper and Lower Canada… Compiled by several gentlemen from a variety of original manuscripts, and from the latest and best authorities”

Settlers’ Guides

“Geographical, Geological and Statistical Chart of Wisconsin and Iowa …

Philadelphia: 1838
Abel, Henry J.
Go to Article

(title continued) “… designed especially for the use of Emigrants and Travellers, and as a Document of Reference for the citizens of those Territories; as well as for those who may feel interested in the prosperity of this new but rapidly improving portion of the “Great West””

Printed as a large one-sheet chart, this is packed with information and advice for people considering moving to Wisconsin or Iowa. It also contains a number of stories that are meant to be illustrative of life there, but seem overly optimistic. Here’s an example: “It is customary in Wisconsin, when an emigrant arrives in a settlement, that his neighbors assist him in building a house, (“which can be done in less than three days”) without any charge whatever. The way they do business here may be seen from the following [newspaper article]: “Not long since a young man reached a settlement on Monday, surveyed his ground on Tuesday, built a house on Wednesday, got married on Friday, moved home on Saturday, and with his wife, like the rest of the settlers, went to meeting on Sunday.”

View of the Valley of the Mississippi, Or, the Emigrant’s and Traveller’s Guide to the West …

Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner 1834
Baird, RobertGo to Book

(title continued) “… Containing a General Description of That Entire Country: and Also Notices of the Soil, Productions, Rivers, and Other Channels of Intercourse and Trade: and Likewise of the Cities and Towns, Progress of Education, &c. of Each State and Territory”

The Western Tourist or Emigrant’s Guide Through the States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, and the Territories of Wisconsin and Iowa …

NY: J. H. Colton 1847
Colton, Joseph HutchinsGo to Book

(title continued) “…being an accurate and concise description of each state, territory, and county: also, describing all the principal stage routes, canals, railroads, and the distances betwen the towns: accompanied with a correct map, showing the township lines of the United States’ surveys, the boundaries of counties, position of villages, etc”

Western Portraiture, and Emigrants’ Guide: a Description of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa …

NY: Colton 1852
Curtiss, DanielGo to Book

(title continued) “… with remarks on Minnesota, and other territories”

Settlers’ Guides

The Emigrant’s Guide to the Western and Southwestern States and Territories …

NY: Kirk & Mercein 1818
Darby, WilliamGo to Book

(title continued) “… Comprising a Geographical and Statistical Description of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio; the Territories of Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan; and the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New-York … Accompanied by a Map of the United States, Etc”

The Farmer’s and Emigrant’s Hand Book

Boston: Wentworth 1852
Marshall, Josiah T.Go to Book

(title continued) ” … being a Full and Complete Guide for the Farmer and Emigrant, comprising the clearing of forest and prairie land – gardening – farming generally – farriery – cookery – and the prevention and cure of diseases, with copious hints, recipes and tables”

New States and Territories; or The Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North-western, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama …

Miller, AndrewGo to Book

(title continued) “… in their real characters, in 1818. Printed for the benefit of emigrants, and others, intending to visit the western country”

A New Guide for Emigrants to the West …

Boston: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln 1837
Peck, John MasonGo to Book

(title continued) ” … Containing Sketches of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, with the Territory of Wisconsin, and the Adjacent Parts”

“To Western Emigrants”

Albany Cultivator 7: 162: Oct. 1840

Albany, NY
Robinson, SolonGo to Article

Four successive articles published as letters to the editor.

The Emigrant’s Guide to the United States of America …

London: Sherwood etc. 1818
Smith, ThomasGo to Book

(title continued) ” … including the Substance of the Journal of Thomas Hulme, Esq.”

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